Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961)


Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961)


Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961) was the son of Nathan and Lina Gutherz Straus. He was not interested in going into the family's business of merchandising. He graduated from Princeton University in New Jersey in 1910 and, with his father's help, secured a position on the newspaper, New York Globe, where he learned everything from compositing to reporting. In 1913 he bought the periodical Puck, which he envisioned could become similar to today's New Yorker Magazine. Puck published articles about women's suffrage, financial and social assistance, and medical science.

By 1920, with a wife and four sons to support, Nathan Jr. began thinking about public service. He ran for, and won, a seat in the New York State Legislature in 1920 and was reelected in 1922 and 1924. The Citizen's Union, a non-partisan organization, reported that Nathan Straus Jr. was the member with the best record on votes in either House.

Nathan Jr. inherited a 24 acre tract of land on the Boston Post Road in the Bronx following his parent's death. In 1934 he turned it into the country's first housing project, Hillside Homes. As a result of his involvement in this project, he became interested in housing. People in the United States knew little about modern housing techniques as practiced in many countries in Europe. He created a report for Mayor LaGuardia of New York on the housing practices in England. As a result of his interest and increasing expertise in this area, LaGuardia appointed him to the New York City Housing Authority. Nathan Jr. felt this experience prepared him for his later role as administrator of the United States Housing Authority in Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration. He served with distinction from 1937 until February 1942.


The Straus Historical Society






“Otto Frank and Nathan Straus, Jr.: Their Letters Discovered at New York’s YIVO” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 9 No. 1 (New York: August 2007); pp. 1-6.

“For the Sake of the Children: The Letters between Otto Frank and Nathan Straus, Jr” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 14 No. 2 (New York: February 2013); p. 1.


Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961)

Source: The Straus Historical Society


The Straus Historical Society


The Straus Historical Society


Medium: Photograph






Nathan Straus Jr., New York, NY, Housing, NYC, FDR, Straus Family





The Straus Historical Society, Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961), The Straus Historical Society, 1937

Cite As

The Straus Historical Society, “Nathan Straus Jr. (1889-1961),” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed May 28, 2022,